The Internet of things (IoT)

Juan Camilo Gonzalez
10 min readJan 2, 2022


The term Internet of Things refers to the entire network of physical devices, tools, appliances, equipment, machinery, and other smart objects that have the capability to collect data about the physical world and transmit that data through the internet. (What is IoT?, 2021).

Types of network connections can include Wi-Fi connections, Bluetooth connections, and near-field communication (NFC). The IoT includes devices such as “smart” appliances, like refrigerators and thermostats; home security systems; computer peripherals, like webcams and printers; wearable technology, such as Apple Watches and Fitbits; routers; and smart speaker devices, like Amazon Echo and Google Home. The IoT excludes traditional computers like laptops and servers. (Kenton, 2021)

The term ‘Internet of Things’ was coined in 1999 by the computer scientist Kevin Ashton. While working at Procter & Gamble, Ashton proposed putting radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips on products to track them through a supply chain. He reportedly worked the then-buzzword ‘internet’ into his proposal to get the executives’ attention. And the phrase stuck. Over the next decade, public interest in IoT technology began to take off, as more and more connected devices came to market. (Marchant, 2021).

How the Internet of Things Works

These devices use Internet protocol (IP), the same protocol that identifies computers over the world wide web and allows them to communicate with one another. The goal behind the Internet of things is to have devices that self-report in real-time, improving efficiency and bringing important information to the surface more quickly than a system depending on human intervention. (Kenton, 2021)

What is IoT used for?

IoT is used for collecting data about the physical world that would be very difficult or impossible for humans to collect without the aid of smart devices and monitoring systems. Insights derived from the data collected by these devices allow people to understand, monitor, and react to events or changes. (What is IoT?, 2021).

IoT lets you solve your business problems using your own data. The Internet of Things isn’t just about connected devices — it’s about the information those devices collect and the powerful, immediate insights that can be garnered from that information. These insights can be used to transform your business and lower costs through improvements like reduction of wasted materials, streamlined operational and mechanical processes, or expansion into new lines of business that are only made possible with reliable real-time data. Create a real competitive advantage by using IoT to turn your data into insights and turn those insights into action. (What is IoT?, 2021).

Benefits of the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things promises to transform a wide range of fields. In medicine, for example, connected devices can help medical professionals monitor patients inside and outside of a hospital setting. Computers can then evaluate the data to help practitioners adjust treatments and improve patient outcomes. (Kenton, 2021)

Remote monitoring

Monitor almost any kind of asset — including heavy machinery, vehicles, and even livestock — almost anywhere, either continuously or at regular intervals. By tracking location, performance, condition, or environmental factors, the insights you gain from IoT-connected things may help you:

· Reduce your service costs and refine your business processes.

· Understand how your products are performing to provide a better experience for your customers.

· Increase the number of appointments per day, cut fuel costs, and reduce wear-and-tear by using machine learning capabilities to route freight or vehicles more efficiently.

Know where your resources are at any given moment — down to which vehicle they’re on — for improved field service, stronger security, and increased employee safety. (What is IoT?, 2021).

Predictive maintenance

Predictive maintenance incorporates machine learning software that analyzes data to predict outcomes and automate actions. Predictive capabilities allow service providers to move beyond the traditional reactive and scheduled maintenance business model and use their data to identify issues before they become critical. This gives technicians the opportunity to intervene before customers even realize there’s a problem. Armed with this information, you’re able to:

· Figure out what mechanical or operational conditions are causing failures or slowdowns.

· Better predict what spare parts to keep in your inventory before repair issues arise.

· Move beyond a break/fix business model by preventing equipment failures through preventative maintenance. (What is IoT?, 2021).

Manufacturing efficiency

Every business is different, but many manufacturing processes share a common pathway from raw materials to finished products. With IoT, it’s possible to learn from your own systems find new ways to manage your processes and product quality with data from your devices and sensors. With these data insights, you’re able to:

· Identify bottlenecks that reduce efficiency, enabling you to improve your process.

· Reduce downtime caused by unplanned maintenance or equipment failure.

· Eliminate substandard materials, parts, or errors before your product is complete.

· Reduce downtime caused by unplanned maintenance or equipment failure. (What is IoT?, 2021).

Connected products

Connected products have smart, connective components that allow data to be exchanged between the product and its user, manufacturer, or environment. Related IoT solutions may help you build smart factories with new functionality, greater reliability, and higher product utilization. Using connected products, you’re able to:

· Streamline the development and maintenance of your products.

· Provide more secure, connected experiences for your customers.

· Create new lines of business with managed service and support.

· Monitor how products perform to improve design, manufacturing, and reliability. (What is IoT?, 2021).

The future of IoT

The range of potential IoT applications is “limited only by the human imagination” — and many of these applications can benefit the planet, as well as its people. IoT smart roads that connect with self-driving cars could improve driver safety and optimize traffic flow, potentially reducing the average commute time by 30 minutes. Emergency responder times could also be cut significantly.

Real-time crime mapping and predictive policing tools could also help prevent crime. McKinsey estimates that using data to deploy scarce resources more effectively could save 300 lives a year in a city with the population and profile of Rio de Janeiro. (Marchant, 2021).

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a technology helping us to reimagine daily life, but artificial intelligence (AI) is the real driving force behind the IoT’s full potential. IoT devices use the internet to communicate, collect, and exchange information about our online activities. Every day, they generate 1 billion GB of data. By 2025, there’s projected to be 42 billion IoT-connected devices globally. It’s only natural that as these device numbers grow, the swaths of data will too. That’s where AI steps in — lending its learning capabilities to the connectivity of the IoT.

The IoT is empowered by three key emerging technologies:

· Artificial Intelligence (AI): Programmable functions and systems that enable devices to learn, reason, and process information like humans.

· 5G Networks: Fifth generation mobile networks with high-speed, near-zero lag for real time data processing.

· Big Data: Enormous volumes of data processed from numerous internet-connected sources.

Together, these interconnected devices are transforming the way we interact with our devices at home and at work, creating the AIoT (“Artificial Intelligence of Things”) in the process. There are four major segments in which the AIoT is making an impact: wearables, smart home, smart city, and smart industry. (Ghosh, I. 2021).

Internet of Things Security and Privacy Challenges & Risks

Everyone is surrounded by the Internet of Things every moment. Understanding the security and privacy challenges on the Internet of things can help to avoid some hazards in terms of personal security and privacy.

Vulnerability to Hacking

Almost every single Internet of Things device represents a potential risk of being hacked. Researchers at the French technology institute Eurecom downloaded some 32,000 firmware images from potential IoT device manufacturers and discovered 38 vulnerabilities across 123 products including poor encryption and backdoors that could allow unauthorized access.

The sheer amount of data that IoT devices can generate is staggering. According to FTC’s report “Internet of Things: Privacy and Security in a Connected World”, fewer than 10,000 households can generate 150 million discrete data points every day!!! This creates more chances for hackers and leaves sensitive information vulnerable.

Hackers could use a connected device to virtually invade your home. For example, German researchers accomplished this by intercepting unencrypted data from a smart meter device to determine what television show someone was watching at that moment.

Trust Consideration

Company systems will be bombarded by data from IoT devices. But how can organizations be sure that all data has not been compromised or interfered?

For now, there are not any effective ways to verify identities on the Internet. You have no knowledge of what your data is being collected and whether your Internet of Things devices are compromised or hacked.

Extinct security measures for IoT devices are generally not workable since the devices’ perimeter protection is defined by themselves.

Data Protection

Ubiquitous data collection indeed collects a lot of useful information, but this will have an impact on privacy expectations if data is compromised by malicious hackers.

Lots of Internet of Things devices generate a vast amount of data, which creates a greater risk of:

· Data and identity theft

· Device manipulation

· Data falsification

· IP theft, network manipulation and other cybercrime

How to protect big data generated by the Internet of Things from cybercriminals is one of the biggest challenges. Government, police and IoT manufacturers should figure out effective IoT security solutions to protect people’ security and privacy. (Internet of Things Security and Privacy Challenges, 2021).

Weak password protection

Hard-coded and embedded credentials are a danger for IT systems and as much hazardous for IoT devices. Guessable or hard-coded credentials are a windfall for hackers to attack the device directly. Network managers using adapted IoT Identity and Access Management solutions have a wide range of device authentication features to reduce IoT attack exposure.

Two-factor authentication, multi-factor authentication, biometric authentication, or digital certificates (using a Public Key Infrastructure) can ensure that no one can get unauthorized access to the connected devices. Gartner notes that privileged access management (PAM) for all devices is essential for slashing IoT security issues and ensuring IoT networks cannot be hacked.

Lack of regular patches and updates and weak update mechanism

IoT products are developed with ease of use and connectivity in mind. They may be secure at purchase but become vulnerable when hackers find new security issues or bugs. If they are not fixed with regular updates, the IoT devices become exposed over time. Enterprises can then provide critical security updates to IoT devices in the field.

Network managers should also pay special attention to update mechanisms, including only signed updates and encrypted exchanges for authenticity. Unexpected firmware updates have taught developers some hard lessons about the importance of a well-planned Firmware Over the Air (FOTA) strategy.

Insecure interfaces

All IoT devices process and communicate data. They need apps, services, and protocols for communication and many IoT vulnerabilities originate from insecure interfaces. They are related to web, application API, cloud, and mobile interfaces and can compromise the device and its data. Common issues include a lack of/or insufficient device authentication and authorization and weak encryption or none.

Insufficient data protection (communication and storage)

The most frequent concerns in the data security of IoT applications are due to insecure communications and data storage. One of the significant challenges for IoT privacy and security is that compromised devices can be used to access confidential data.

Cryptography is an effective way to address this challenge. Data encryption prevents data visibility in the event of unauthorized access or theft. It is commonly used to protect data in motion and is increasingly utilized for protecting data at rest. The data encryption and decryption make certain that data privacy and confidentiality are preserved, and the risks of data theft are minimized.

Poor IoT device management

A study published in July 2020 analyzed over 5 million IoT, IoMT (Internet of Medical Things), and unmanaged connected devices in healthcare, retail, and manufacturing as well as life sciences. It reveals an astonishing number of vulnerabilities and risks across a stunningly diverse set of connected objects.

They include shadow IoT (devices in active use without IT’s knowledge), compliance violations, and US Food and Drug Administration recalled (defective and risky) medical devices. Ransomware gangs specifically target healthcare more than any other domain in the United States. It’s now, by far, the #1 healthcare breach root cause in the country.

The mix of old legacy systems and connected devices like patient monitors, ventilators, infusion pumps, lights, and thermostats with very poor security features are sometimes especially prone to attacks. So, these criminals understand that stopping critical applications and holding patient data can put lives at risk and that these organizations are more likely to pay a ransom.

These vulnerabilities and IoT security threats can be radically reduced by implementing IoT device management platforms. They provide class-leading lifecycle management capabilities to deploy, monitor, maintain, manage and update IoT devices. They respond to end-to-end solution needs from customers and the essential security challenges tackled with device management. They deliver a single view of all devices that helps enabled unified security and unified client abstraction for fragmented device profiles. These types of platform functions can, for example, help improve asset provisioning, firmware upgrades, security patching, alert, and report on specific metrics associated with IoT assets. (Iot security issues in 2021: A business perspective. 2021).


Microsoft Azure. (2021). What is IoT?

Kenton, W. (2021, May 28). The Internet of Things (IoT): An Overview.

Marchant, N. (2021, March 31). What is the Internet of Things?

Ghosh, I. (2021, March 31). 4 key areas where AI and IoT are being combined.

Reolink Blog. (2021, July 21). Internet of Things Security and Privacy Challenges.

Top IoT security issues and challenges. (2021, April 09). Iot security issues in 2021: A business perspective.